Hebrews 9:17

17 because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living.

Hebrews 9:17 in Other Translations

KJV
17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.
ESV
17 For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive.
NLT
17 The will goes into effect only after the person’s death. While the person who made it is still alive, the will cannot be put into effect.
MSG
17
CSB
17 For a will is valid only when people die, since it is never in force while the testator is living.

Hebrews 9:17 Meaning and Commentary

Hebrews 9:17

For a testament is of force after men are dead
The necessity of Christ's death is here urged, from the nature and force of a testament or will, among men, which does not take place, and cannot be executed, till a man is dead.

Otherwise it is of no strength at all whilst the testator liveth;
no claim can be made by the legatees for the part they have in it, nor can any disposition be made by the executor of it; not that hereby is suggested, that the testament or will of God was uncertain and precarious till the death of Christ, and subject to change and alteration as men's wills are till they die; nor that the inheritance could not be enjoyed by the Old Testament saints; for it is certain, it was entered upon by them before the death of Christ; but the sense is, that there was a necessity of it, that the saints right unto it, upon the foot of justice, might be evident by it.

Hebrews 9:17 In-Context

15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.
16 In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it,
17 because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living.
18 This is why even the first covenant was not put into effect without blood.
19 When Moses had proclaimed every command of the law to all the people, he took the blood of calves, together with water, scarlet wool and branches of hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll and all the people.
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